A place for horror or darker stories, mostly written for 'Screams!!!'
|The Love Of Dogs.
“Carol? Is it really you?” Rose stopped walking and held her daughter Chloe by the hand.
“Rosie! Long time no see!” The woman across the street stopped walking, turned and smiled at her friend before crossing the road to join her. “I haven’t seen you in ages. And who’s this? It can’t be Chloe.”
Rose pushed her daughter forward. “Say hello to Aunty Carol.”
The little girl looked at the woman but said nothing, instead stuffing one of her tiny fists in her mouth.
“She’s a bit shy around people,” Rose explained. “So how’s life treating you?”
“Oh, pretty good to be honest.” Carol began talking and Chloe became restless. She pulled her hand free from her mother’s grip then began stooping down and picking up every tiny stone she could find, making a pile of them against the wall. Rose glanced at her, saw that the four-year-old had found a way to occupy herself so went back to the conversation.
“Look, Mommy! A dog!” The girl began to walk away from the women.
“Stay away from the road, okay,” Rose called, then explained: “Chloe loves dogs. All of them in the neighborhood know her well.”
Carol frowned slightly as the little girl walked towards what looked to be a large dog; not only that but it appeared to be off a leash and no owner was in sight. “Are you sure it’s okay?”
“Honestly, Carol, I could spend all day every day worrying about this child.”
“I’m sure,” Carol sympathized, “but there’s no one with it. Perhaps you should call Chloe back.”
Rose frowned. She did not need advice from her childless friend on how to care for her own daughter, but in spite of that she looked towards her daughter.
The dog was quite away off still, but she had to admit that it did not look familiar. And Carol was right, there was no one with it.
“Chloe! Hang on a minute.” Rose began to walk towards her daughter. “Don’t go, Carol. We’ve still got a lot of catching up to do.”
The dog was growling and Chloe hesitated. “Mommy, doggy is messy. Very messy.Doggy needs a bath!” She turned towards her mother but then went back to approaching the dog.
There was something about it, Rose could see as she got nearer, that was really... not right. It wasn’t just the growls, which sounded full of aggression, but it looked odd, as though parts of it were missing.
“Oh my god!” Rose said, as she saw that entire chunks of the dog’s face were missing. Not only its face either, for one of its front legs was nothing more than sinew and bone. “Chloe, turn around and walk to Mommy now!”
“But I want to pet the doggy,” Chloe said.
“No, Chloe, not this dog. Do what you are told, please and walk back to me.” Rose hoped her voice did not betray the panic that she was feeling. She could see the dog’s tongue lolling over one of its jawbones. Its eyes went backwards and forwards from the woman to the girl; the dog’s eyes, although dead looking, seemed to be weighing them up.
Rose jumped when Carol stopped beside her. “What is it? It looks like something that’s been dug up or something.”
Chloe’s mother nodded, then fixed her eyes on her daughter. At least she had turned and was walking away from the... creature. But she was going too slowly. The dog was bunching up its muscles ready to launch after her. Rose had to do something.
She began to wave her arms, trying to attract and hold the eyes of the canine. “Here! Over here!” she yelled, but Chloe stopped walking, turned back towards it.
“Jeez, Rose, look at the thing. It looks like its stepped straight out of a horror movie.” Carol, too, began to wave, but the dog ignored them and focused on the young girl. “It’s going to jump,” Carol whispered a warning.
Suddenly Rose dashed forward. Chloe, shocked by both the sight of the creature and of her Mom running towards her, began to cry. She was not going to make it, Rose realized, then put on a sudden burst of speed. She could see the dog lifting itself up, trailing what she imagined was part of its intestines and she reached out, knocked the girl to the ground.
The dog sailed above them, and Rose tried not to cry out as the leaking guts dragged across her body. She could feel her daughter sobbing beneath her, and then she froze at the sound of the screams that were coming from back where she had come from.
Carol! The dog had jumped on her, knocked her to the ground and was tearing at her, ripping at her. The cries of her friend stopped, as her body twitched, stopped moving. Was she dead? She had to be. Rose stayed where she lay, hoping that the dog would ignore them now that it had fed. If they stayed still there was a good chance that it would walk away and then she would call for help.
Except the dog did not move away, and Carol began to move again. Dripping blood from multiple bites, she got unsteadily onto her feet and reached out, patted the beastly dog’s head. Rose stared in horror as both pairs of eyes turned in her direction. She pushed herself away from her daughter and lifted the shocked girl in her arms. And then she ran, not once pausing to look back and knowing the moment of impact was only seconds away.